Below is the Author’s Preface to my new self-published book, entitled, “Dismantling The Republic,” in which I examine the philosophy behind the Declaration of Independence, the crafting of our Constitution and the sovereignty of our States upon which the American Republic rested, and the process of dismantling that Republic, culminating in Lincoln’s war on sovereign States. The book further traces the elimination of State sovereignty through the 20th century by Lincoln’s political heirs and concludes that today’s Tea Party Movement is a continuing struggle for the principle of States’ Rights for which the South fought from 1861 to 1865.
The 217-page book also contains two appendices. The first is a side-by-side comparison of the U. S. Constitution of 1787 with the Confederate Constitution of 1861. The second contains all of the secession ordinances of seceding States, indicating that federal usurpation of States’ Rights, not slavery, impelled their secession.
The book is $16.50 per copy, plus $2.50 postage and handling and may be ordered from me at 308 South Okla. Ave., Elk City, OK 73644.
SCV members may purchase it for $15.00, plus $2.50 postage & handling.
Jerry C. Brewer, Commander
Pvts. Grayson & Brewer Camp, 2118
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Constitutional government in America ended April 9, 1865. It ended four years earlier in the United States with Abraham Lincoln’s ascension to the presidency. Within a year of his inauguration, he effectively eliminated Constitutional rights. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus and imprisoned and deported an Ohio Congressman without warrant or due process. He censored telegraphic communications, stopped circulation of newspapers that criticized his autocratic rule and imprisoned many of their editors. He deprived states of representative government, and unilaterally waged war without the consent of Congress by blockading Southern ports and calling for 75,000 volunteers to invade the sovereign States of the South.
The last bulwark of State sovereignty and Constitutional rights in North America, the Confederate States, ceased to exist when Lee surrendered at Appomattox. From that day forward, the Republic of Jefferson, Madison, Mason and Franklin was to be no more. Henceforth, the federal government that was created by sovereign States to be their agent would become their master. All that remained was for the new order of government to dismantle the Republic’s remnants.
Individual rights, expressed in State sovereignty, undergirded the Republic. The declaration of those rights by American Colonists in 1776 culminated a centuries-long struggle for recognition of individual sovereignty dating back to the Magna Carta. As Thomas Jefferson expressed it, all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and when government fails to protect those rights it is the right of the people to “alter or abolish” that government.
In late spring, 1787, the greatest minds among the American States gathered in Philadelphia to carve out an instrument to strengthen the weaker Articles of Confederation under which they had united in 1777. What they forged was the American Republic—a voluntary union of sovereign States, created by sovereign individuals, and founded upon the Constitution. When their proceedings ended in September a bystander asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government they had created. He replied, “A republic, if we can keep it.” He and the other Founders understood the fragile nature of government—especially their Republic with its delicate balance of powers.
None of the Founding Fathers envisioned a democracy. Their new government was a Republic of Sovereign States with carefully diffused constituencies and Franklin’s uneasiness about keeping it was well founded. Even before the Constitution was in its final form, forces were at work to weaken it and institute a government as autocratic as that of George III.
Without surrendering their sovereignty, the States ratified the Constitution, entering into a voluntary compact under it. In so doing, each State reserved for itself the full measure of sovereignty it held before joining the compact, and expressed that in the 10th amendment to the Constitution. State sovereignty meant that any or all of them had the right to freely withdraw from that compact whenever it became destructive of the ends for which it was established.
From the Republic’s inception the sovereignty of its member States suffered erosive political attacks that reached their high water mark when Lincoln invaded the South and forced seceded States back into the union at bayonet point. Upon his shoulders rests the responsibility for destroying the Republic. But even before the election of 1860, greedy Northern interests were working to change Franklin’s Republic into a Consolidated, Mercantile Empire. Lincoln’s election culminated those efforts and in the century and a half since his war Lincoln’s heirs have almost finished his work. From 1860 until the present, the Republic has been dismantled to such an extent that the Founders would not recognize it if they returned to 21st century America. Their Republic no longer exists. How that came to pass is the thesis we chronicle in this work. The foundation of the American Republic, created by the Constitution of 1787, was the sovereignty of its creator States. From its very beginning efforts were exerted to dismantle the Republic and replace it with a centralized government by incrementally eroding its foundation of State sovereignty—efforts that achieved their goal, for without State sovereignty, that Republic cannot exist.
Governments may control actions, but they cannot control ideas. They may chain a man’s body, but they cannot chain his mind. The Republic that Lincoln destroyed first existed as an idea and it still exists in that form. Jefferson Davis said, “The contest is not over, the strife is not ended. It has only entered upon a new and enlarged arena, and the principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.” Given the grassroots disaffection for the federal social programs being forced upon the states and the arrogant usurpation of Constitutional authority by the federal government today, it appears that the cause of State Sovereignty still reposes in American hearts. Those voices of dissent in Congressional “Town Hall Meetings” and “Tea Parties” across the land in our time are faint sounds from the stirring wings of the great Phoenix of Davis’ principle rising from the ashes of Lincoln’s war to reassert itself “at another time and in another form.”
Jerry C. Brewer
Elk City, Oklahoma
May 18, 2009